I don’t know what brings folks into your branches … but I guarantee it has to do with money.
The Notorious B.I.G and Puff Daddy nailed it, “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”
Money is one of the leading causes of divorce in America (aside from blonds, brunettes and red-heads).
Data from Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning & Progress Study found that money is the #1 cause of stress in America. And the “bread dread” is increasing each year, the study found.
- Rising healthcare costs (59%)
- Unplanned financial emergencies (55%)
- Unplanned health emergencies (53%)
This puts banks and credit unions in a unique position. We are on the front lines of making America happier.
Because, folks, we understand personal finance. When I speak at bank and credit union conferences around the country, I train that no one, no matter how well they are dressed, no matter what they do for a living, no one who walks through your front door understands personal finance the way that your staff does. The average customer may get 4-5 homes in their lifetime … we do 5 mortgages before lunch. They may buy 10 cars in their life … we do 10 auto loans in an afternoon. Many people still think a CD is a way to listen to music!
We are the experts. And we have to be empathetic to our customer’s money problems.
There it is, the key word to improve your customer experience and increase sales:
EMPATHY: The ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings.
Your staff’s goal should be to get into your customer’s shoes. Your team needs to be able to:
- Avoid impulse: Don’t jumping straight into “talky-talk” sales. Don’t just start listing products and features.
- Learn: Ask the right open-ended questions to identify a customer’s pain or need.
- Listen: Don’t be focused on what you’ll say next. Hear what the person is saying. Take notes. Try to put yourself in the customer’s position.
- Recognize: Try to recognize your customer’s emotions. Pay attention to your customer’s verbal cues and body language. A simple phrase like, “I understand,” or, “I know how you feel,” can go a long way to lowering someone’s blood pressure.
- Reassure: Remember, to a customer, their money issue is new and uncomfortable. But your staff has seen the issue a million time. Put the customer at ease by letting them know that, A) their problem is not unique and B) you’ve solved it before.
- Drive Action: Use your customer’s emotions to get them to act. Once you can walk in a customer’s shoes, you can help them get out of those shoes.
How important is empathy? Take this example from one of the all-time great customer service companies, USAA:
“Before their first interactions with customers, USAA reps get intensive training on military culture. They try on combat gear and dine on field rations. They even get deployment letters before heading to the customer frontline.
- Hire (and fire) on empathy
- Train on it
- Nurture it
- Measure it
By leading, not with sales, but with empathy, you will not only better assure today’s sale, but will build the rapport that leads to tomorrow’s sale … and a life-long customer relationship.
Money is a leading cause for stress … your staff understands money … when your team can help customer’s resolve issues and reduce stress, they become heroes. And … they might even save a marriage or two along the way!
- Life Stage Marketing White Paper
- Use Psychology for More Memorable Marketing
- 3 Insights into the Lifetime Value of a Customer
- Emotion: The Key to Engagement and Sales
- Why did they Choose YOUR Bank or Credit Union?
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